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ECOWAS parliament splits over military intervention in Niger as Senator Ndume berates Tinubu

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Bola Tinubu
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ECOWAS Parliament Divided Over Response to Niger Political Crisis.

 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) parliament finds itself divided as its members grapple with differing approaches to address the political impasse in Niger Republic. In an extraordinary virtual meeting, twenty-two parliamentarians gathered to discuss the ongoing crisis and the potential deployment of a standby military force in response.

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The parliament session exposed a stark contrast in viewpoints among the participants. Some parliament members expressed their support for diplomatic dialogue, advocating for peaceful measures to resolve the situation. Others, however, called for more decisive actions to counter the rise of military governments within the region.

The division within the parliament mirrors the broader concerns surrounding the political unrest in Niger Republic. ECOWAS, the West African regional bloc, had ordered the activation of a standby military force, considering various options, including force, to address the junta that seized power in Niger in July. The bloc aims for a peaceful restoration of democracy in the country.

Parliamentarians who opposed military intervention stressed the potential consequences for civilians, warning that armed conflict would inflict untold hardship on the masses. They expressed their concerns during the virtual Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament.

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No to ECOWAS Military Intervention.

Hon. Idris Wase, the first Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, voiced his opposition to resolving the coup through military force, citing the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war as a cautionary tale of economic loss and human suffering. Meanwhile, Ali Ndume, representing Borno South and a member of the Nigerian Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, criticized President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria and ECOWAS Chairman for their actions, including the unilateral closure of the Nigerian-Niger border and cutting off electricity supply without approval from the Nigerian National Assembly.

Nigerian Senator berates Bola Tinubu

Senator Ali Ndume stressed the importance of representing the people’s wishes in determining any actions to be taken. He underlined that the Nigerian Senate firmly opposed the use of force in a letter from President Tinubu regarding the planned military intervention in Niger.

President Tinubu has no right to close the Niger – Nigeria border, cut electricity without the approval of the Nigerian National Assembly. It is not the Juntas that are suffering the sanctions, rather innocent people.”

While parliamentarians like Ali Djibo from Niger Republic advocated for dialogue as the best solution, highlighting the adverse effects of war on the region, another school of thought emerged. Some argued that dialogue and diplomacy have failed to curb the spread of military coups in West Africa, and consequences must be enforced for violations of ECOWAS Protocol.

Hon. Linda Ikpeazu urged for consequences to deter wrongdoings, pointing to previous instances like Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, where military incursions occurred without consequences. She stressed the need for ECOWAS to take action against the rise of coupists in the region.

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Amid these differing opinions, Hon. Adebayo Balogun clarified that ECOWAS Heads of States were proposing military intervention to dislodge the coupists, not a full-scale war. He reminded the assembly that Niger is a signatory to ECOWAS’s revised protocol on non-military intervention.

Hon. Bashir Dawodu emphasized the importance of keeping the military option open while pursuing diplomacy. He cautioned against relying solely on external support, highlighting that Russia alone cannot defend the junta. Dawodu suggested a balance between diplomacy and military readiness.

As the parliament grapples with opposing views, the outcome of their discussions will significantly impact the regional response to the Niger political crisis, with potential implications for the future of ECOWAS and its member states.

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